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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

What should kids do when two answers seem equally right?



In Florida's move to tougher standards and more "critical thinking," we often hear leaders say that children will have to figure out the "best right answer" if presented with more than one option that seems to fit the bill.

Some elementary school students we've talked to want to know, will they get a chance to explain their choice? Or will they simply be told they're wrong?

Here's one simple example from a recent piece of fourth grade homework some area schools use for reading lessons (leading, no doubt, to something on the FCAT). The kids were told that "homophones are words that sound the same, but have different meanings." The assignment is to pick the correct homophone.

Most are clear. (After running out of ________ (flour/flower), the baker had to stop baking.) But here's one that caught some students off guard: The fight ____________ (scene/seen) in the movie was extremely exciting! 

You might quickly pick "scene" because it definitely makes sense. But at least one said "seen" also works. Depends if you're talking about the fight scene that appears in the movie, or the fight as seen in the movie.

Given the chance to elaborate, they would certainly get credit for either choice, it would seem. But how does that work on a multiple choice exam? Your thoughts?

[Last modified: Thursday, January 31, 2013 6:36am]


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